Our network is our most valuable asset. Being connected to a variety of people cuts down the number of steps and hurdles it takes get things done. It even gives us access to unseen opportunities, and lets us draw ideas and guidance from people from many walks of life.
Most of us may add a few new people to our social and professional circles each year, and we struggle to follow up with not just them but also the people we already know.
“Was it Sarah or Natalie who worked at that design studio?”
“Who was it that liked going out for ramen?”
“You remind me of some guy I met recently…uhhh but I forget his name.”
Networking is hard, yet some people seem to have an infinite capacity to remember details about people and connect them almost effortlessly. We can spot these superconnectors because they’re always the ones saying, “Oh, I know that guy. Want me to introduce you?”
We tend to think that superconnectors are born with extreme extroversion and a photographic memory, but that’s not true. In practice, all it really takes is the right technology. Superconnectors do not have secret powers -- they just have a set of really awesome apps. While some of us are still googling around, starring emails, and forgetting names, superconnectors are blowing past us by relying on apps that transform introductions and followups into a cakewalk.
I wanted to become a superconnector, so a few years ago I began researching the best apps to optimize every major step of the connecting process. These five steps are research, outreach, scheduling, meeting, and followups. Below, I present to you the top 10 apps that superconnectors use to forge connections anywhere, anytime, with anyone.
I call it the Superconnector’s Stack.
Superconnectors always trust that they’ll be able to get in touch with the people they want. After all, the tech to do that is already available to all of us. A little patience and creativity go a long way.
Goal: Discover more about the people you want to connect with.
Superconnectors used to use Rapportive for Gmail until LinkedIn bought it and shut off most of its functionality. Now, they turn to apps like Connectifier to reveal all the contact information and social links of the people they want to reach.
Goal: Find out who to get an intro from.
When you want to get an introduction to someone outside your network, Conspire determines who in your network knows them best and could make the strongest intro.
The more popular/reputable your desired contact is, the more likely they are to have upwards of 50-100 emails per day. You’ll need to make it incredibly easy for your email to stand out and for your recipient to respond. If they don’t use email, it’s very likely they’ve got other apps for direct communication right on their phones’ home screens. You would be surprised by the efficacy of sending a well-timed, relevant tweet, or leaving an engaging photo comment on Instagram.
Goal: Learn what to say in an email.
Crystal assesses all the publicly-available information about someone in order to understand exactly what types of messages/content they’re most likely to respond to. Crystal even tells you how to structure your messages, and what words/phrases to avoid using.
Goal: Ensure a fast response.
Five Sentences is nothing more than a simple guide for keeping your messages concise and full of immediate calls to action. You’ll kick yourself for not discovering this approach sooner.
When you’re meeting up with multiple people in a day or week, scheduling can quickly become a nightmare. Many people avoid socializing for this very reason. Luckily, there are some apps that render this entire process effortless.
Goal: Schedule your first chat.
Assistant.to works directly within Gmail and lets you quickly give your recipient options for times to meet up based on your calendar availability.
ScheduleOnce and Calendly offer customized URLs you can send to people for booking times on your calendar.
X.AI and Clara Labs are two of the top virtual scheduling assistants, and they actually respond to your recipients to set up meetings in a way that feels like it’s coming from a real person. They can even update your calendar and notify you in realtime to handle any last minute scheduling updates.
Goal: Decide where to chat.
AppearIn is a 1-click browser-based video conference and is by far the fastest possible way to begin video chatting with anyone. No installations, no logins.
WorkFrom is a nifty resource for finding out which coffee shops in your city are ideal for coworking and/or quick meetups.
Obviously, when you’re meeting someone face to face or over live video, your interpersonal dynamic will become quite important. While apps can’t necessarily help you on that front (yet), there are still a few apps that will be prove useful here.
Goal: Decide what to say when you meet.
Humin and Charlie give you detailed personal insights into the people you’re about to meet. Whether it’s their recent posts and live events, or your recent mutual touch points, these apps help keep your memory fresh when you go into meetings.
Goal: Take rapid notes from your meeting.
Wunderlist is an incredibly powerful list-making app, and can prove indispensable when you need to rapidly jot down who said what as well as what your next steps should be.
Followups are the typically the most dreaded and oft-forgotten part of the connecting process, but they don’t have to be. These last few tools are game-changers and will give you an unfair advantage.
Goal: Know when to followup.
Boomerang for Gmail
Boomerang is quite indispensable. Whenever you send an email, Boomerang lets you schedule a time when that email should be sent back to the top of your inbox as a reminder to follow up on that thread.
Goal: Manage your connections.
Streak is simply an instant CRM for your inbox. It lets you create a pipeline of all your connections, followups, and results so that you never miss a single detail.
FullContact is a nifty way of aggregating all of your contacts’ social and professional data into contact cards so that you don’t have to go hunting down additional contact details when you’re ready to follow up or connect across other social fora.
This was written by a SUG contributor.
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Steve Dean is an NYC-based online dating consultant and matchmaker. He is the founder of Jobsuitors, an OkCupid-inspired career matchmaking platform that automatically connects talented professionals to their best-matched open roles at popular startups around the country. Steve likes to write about dating, relationships, and how to get connected to apartments, roommates, jobs, friends, and romantic partners.